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Robert Larkin: Based on a True Story

I'm a firm believer in that art need not be a battle to create or find meaning in. After 20 plus years as a self-taught, representational painter, I went back to school in my 40s and got a BFA in studio art, and an MFA in studio art with an emphasis in critical thinking, or what I like to call a master’s degree in doubt. Collage has always been a thread that runs through my work. Today I consider myself a collage – both digital and analog -- and mixed media artist.

In art, like life, if I am dependent on one thing it would be humor. Be it sarcasm or just plain juvenile, I think once a person gets too serious, they begin to throw away their honesty. I like to think of the moment in life when we all went from being illiterate to some level of literacy. Which is by no means to go from stupid to smart. That specific year when we figured out that there really is no Santa Clause or Tooth Fairy. When asking stupid questions was considered cute and clever. When our artistic goal was to get our latest work exhibited on the refrigerator door. Then, not by choice, we wandered into a serious world where we were suddenly expected to be sensible and responsible. I consider this point -- between illiteracy and literacy -- to be the “sweet spot” in life. Naive but not dumb.

The intent of my art is to draw the viewer back to a time when life was hopefully easier and critical thinking was more about what if, rather than what now.

The body of work I am showing at this Saturday’s Ojai Studio Artists Tour is titled, Based on a True Story. It is a collection of small and medium scale collages that are in many ways similar to the work I did when I was about 7 to 10 years old. They are all one of a kind, original pieces, and most are framed. There will also be a selection of past work in the back room that you are welcome to check out. This is the first time I’ll be opening my new Ojai studio to public visits. I hope you can swing by and share with me what you think of my work!

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